Friday, October 24th, 2014

Fact-checking Ted Cruz

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas gives the keynote address at CPAC on March 16, 2013.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz promised voters he wouldn’t go along with "business as usual," and since arriving in Washington, the Republican from Texas has made one attention-grabbing statement after another.


His talk has prompted at least one of his colleagues -- Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. -- to call his statements a new version of McCarthyism. (Joe McCarthy was a Wisconsin senator who made baseless accusations against people he thought were communists back in the 1950s.)


Cruz has said those attacks show he’s doing something right.  


PolitiFact Texas and the national PolitiFact team have been fact-checking Cruz as he deploys his rhetoric in defense of conservative causes.


When it comes to accuracy, the statements we’ve looked at show Cruz is tilted toward the negative side of the Truth-O-Meter.

 

• Out of 14 statements we’ve rated, seven have been either False or Pants on Fire.

 

• We rated three statements Half True.

 

• We rated nother four statements Mostly True or True.


Here are highlights from our fact-checks of Cruz’s statements:


• Cruz said that Democrats told the Catholic Church that they’ll use federal powers to shut down church charities and hospitals if the church doesn’t change its beliefs. But PolitiFact Texas didn’t find any statements of the kind from Democrats. Instead, the church claimed that potential fines from its refusal to adhere to new health insurance rules on contraceptive coverage might cause some affiliates to shut down. That’s completely different. PolitiFact Texas rated Cruz’s statement Pants on Fire.


• "We have a federal government that thinks they have the authority to regulate our toilet seats," Cruz said. We lifted the lid on this statement and found Cruz was right: The federal government thinks it has the right because it does, primarily under the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution. We rated his statement True.


• Cruz said that Chuck Hagel’s nomination as defense secretary "has been publicly celebrated by the Iranian government." Actually, PolitiFact Texas found comments from a single Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, who said he hoped Hagel might lead Washington to become "respectful of the rights of nations." Experts told us that language falls far short of government-wide celebration. Hagel was confirmed as defense secretary. PolitiFact Texas rated Cruz’s statement Pants on Fire!


• On gun control, Cruz claimed that "jurisdictions with the strictest gun control laws, almost without exception … have the highest crime rates and the highest murder rates." PolitiFact Texas looked at jurisdictions with restrictive gun laws and found many cities, states and nations with low crime and murder rates. The Truth-O-Meter rating: False.